This is the time when the finishing line starts to beckon for both the 5 Rd. morning sections and the main event in the afternoons.
However, before the serious stuff got under way at 2 p.m. there was an amusing diversion. It has become a little tradition at Paignton that any regular competitor who reaches the grand old age of 90 gets a presentation book. This year it was the turn of John G. Sowerby who passed this particular milestone a few days ago. He had the pick of the bookstall to choose from, and opted for a copy of Arkell’s Odyssey, as he felt it was a bit late in life for him to wrestling with some heavy tome on the openings. He agreed to be present at the start of the afternoon round, even though he was only playing in the mornings. Unknown to him it was arranged that Keith himself should present John with a signed copy, to a round of generous applause. Immediately, then, Keith was himself surprised that it was announced that he had recently won the vote for the ECF’s Player of the Year award, by a country mile – again, to generous applause.
Then the focus was back on John. At the start of play on Tuesday morning, John got him game under way but slowly became aware that all was not well on the board. By move 8 the players realised that John’s king and queen were on the wrong squares. But not before the photographs were taken, and if one looks closely at the final photograph on the previous entry, one can just make this out. Young Theo Slade and his father went to some trouble to crop the picture, blow up the image of John at the board, print off a nice copy and frame it for presentation to him at this moment. A photograph of the three players involved was taken outside shortly after.